Electronic Device Substrates

The Core of Semiconductor Technology

Future Trends in Substrate Innovation

Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)

A PCB or Printed Circuit Board is an electronic assembly used in almost every electronic device. It is a multi-layered component that uses copper tracing to create communication pathways. A PCB starts out as a copper sheet, which is then pressed onto a fiberglass-type laminate. After many processing and inspection steps, the copper pathways are created and the sheet is covered in a solder mask, protecting the board from corrosion and debris. However, this mask doesn't protect the components placed on the board, for example, the soldering components, capacitors, pastes/pads, etc. 

An easy way to protect a PCB and increase its longevity is to apply a Conformal Coating. A conformal coating is a thin film specifically designed to safeguard electronic assemblies. It can protect from dust, corrosion, and moisture, by creating a coating that envelopes the PCB and all its components. Conformal coatings also insulate the PCB, protecting it from electrical failures.

There are different types of conformal coatings based on requirements, including acrylic (Loctite Stycast PC 62), polyurethane (Loctite Stycast PC 18M), silicone (Loctite SI 5293), uv-based (Loctite Stycast PC 40-UMF) and rubber based. 

Certain applications may require waterproofing, such as underwater equipment or electronics like smart phones and watches. In these cases, nanocoatings are a great way to achieve various levels of waterproofing. They provide an extremely thin coating that adds hydrophobicity without altering the surface of the pcb. The goal of these treatments is to protect the PCB from short circuits and other damage caused by moisture, which can cause corrosion and degrade the performance of the circuit over time.